How to Travel in Ecuador

How to Travel in Ecuador
A four-hour flight from Miami, Ecuador is located on the northwestern coast of South America. U.S. citizens need a passport but no visa for visits of under 90 days. Landscapes range from the lowlands on the Pacific coast to the volcanic Andean highlands to the Amazon rainforest. The Galapagos Islands lie 600 miles west and are known for their unique wildlife. Transportation between all points is fairly convenient and frequent, though not always up to American standards.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Take the plane if you're in a hurry. Points on the mainland are no more than half an hour from Quito, the capital, and cost about $50 one way. Flights to the Galapagos take about an hour-and-a-half from Quito and cost around $400 roundtrip. offers a sampling of schedules and prices.

Bringing sports gear may be an issue since the airlines do enforce the 40-pound weight limit for checked luggage, though they often average the weight of people traveling together. You'll often board from both the front and back of the plane, though some flights may not have advanced seat assignments. Always reconfirm your flights and schedules at least 24 hours before take-off or you may be bumped.
Step 2
Ride a boat, which is common and inexpensive. In the Amazon, you can take motorized canoes that carry up to 36 passengers. Confirm prices before getting on. Take plenty of mosquito repellant and something to cushion the hard, wooden benches. Wear long sleeves and long pants plus plenty of sunscreen to avoid painful sunburn. An umbrella can defend against sun and rain. Unfortunately, luggage is limited only to what you can carry.

Cruises to the Galapagos can cost thousands of dollars and range from tourist to luxurious. If you plan on taking your own boat, you'll need a permit that's good for seven days and a fee for entering the Galapagos Islands National Park.
Step 3
Try a bus for rock-bottom prices and the closest travel to the land and its people. Buses can be basic, with occupancy in both the aisles and on the roof, or luxurious with air-conditioning, TV and toilet. It's not unusual for buses to stop in the middle of the road to pick up passengers. And all kinds need to negotiate often poorly-maintained roads, which can add hours to a short trip.

One advantage of buses is that they try to cram your entire campground on-board, and with the cheaper buses, that includes wildlife. For those with rooftop luggage racks, wrap any non-waterproof equipment in plastic trash bags to protect them from weather and hide them from thieves.

Article Written By Aurelio Locsin

Aurelio Locsin has been writing professionally since 1982. He published his first book in 1996 and is a frequent contributor to many online publications, specializing in consumer, business and technical topics. Locsin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scientific and technical communications from the University of Washington.

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